A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{November 24, 2010}   Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Plot: Life has been better since scientists discovered that love was a disease and set out to cure it. Lena lost her mother to the delirium and she is counting the days until her procedure: she will be matched and forever free of pain and of love. But shortly before her eighteenth birthday, Lena meets Alex and her world is turned upside down. She starts to put everything she has been taught into doubt. Has everyone been lying to her? Or has the delirium truly affected her mind?

This review is based on an uncorrected proof that I received through Netgalley.

This is a very well constructed distopia. Oliver has put a lot of work into her loveless version of Portland; she has constructed a whole new worldview with texts to back it up. It is also quite chilling. The world inhabited by these zombies who have literally had emotion cut from their brains does not seem so different from our own. And yet this science fiction world, regardless of the care that has gone into its construction, is merely a frame. This is first and foremost a tragic love story. Lena is a deep, complicated character and very believable. We can understand why she clings so desperately to the propaganda. But we also feel her love for Alex and her hurt at the betrayal of all she has ever known.

This is a thought provoking story but not a happy one. It is beautiful in the same way that Lena claims Romeo and Juliet is beautiful: it is about love and sacrifice. So by all means read it but have a happier book ready for your next read.


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